As a lifelong Tolkien fan, I knew we had to visit the Hobbiton film set. It was just as good as I hoped it would be.
We visited Hobbiton on a day tour from Auckland that also included the glowworm caves at Waitomo. The bus ride allowed us to see some of the north island. The south island gets lots of credit for beauty. The north island is no slouch.
Once at Hobbiton you tour the set with one of their guides. You visit several hobbit holes and gardens and have opportunities to take photos, and hear stories about filming. Like the part in The Fellowship of the Ring where Merry and Pippin set off some fireworks they’re not supposed to. Those two actors had been playing pranks on other cast and crew. So to get even, and to get a good reaction from them for the film, they set off real fireworks without telling them. They got the reaction they wanted!
The hobbit holes are different sizes so they could be used in shots with different size perspectives.
After the tour, you get a free beer at The Green Dragon, and a nice lunch. Parts of the tour can feel a bit like herding but the level of detail in the village is incredible and the presentation interesting. For avid fans it’s a must.